Old Hand at the Cox Plate

The oldest horse due to run in this Saturday’s $3million Cox Plate at Moonee Valley is past victor, El Segundo. The eight-year-old bay gelding will also be the only past Cox Plate winner on the field this year, having won the 2007 race after a narrow defeat the year before to Fields Of Omagh.

He was out of the 2008 race due to injury and has not won a race since his triumph at Moonee Valley, starting only 32 times for 12 wins but still managing to amass $3.8million in prize money.

Trainer Colin Little’s hopes of a second Cox Plate victory for the old champ dampened a little yesterday after they drew wide with gate 13.

Preparation has not gone perfectly for El Segundo after he finished a distant seven lengths from Efficient in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington on October 3 to place 12th. During the race he was struck in the eye by a flying object, thought to be a horseshoe, suffering a nasty injury that has since healed.

Currently at $15 in the betting markets, for El Segundo to defy the odds and cross the line first would be a truly legendary story. Not only would he have to rise above his past string of unlucky runs, but the great galloper would also have to surpass a field of quality runners including clear favourite Wobegotyou ($2.70).

Other horses he must beat to win include Underwood Stakes winner Heart of Dreams ($6.50) and The Metropolitan winner Speed Gifted ($9).

After his 2007 Cox Plate Victory El Segundo suffered a fetlock injury followed by a damaged tendon and so Little never works him on a track in less than perfect condition.

Saturday might be the last race for the great old gelding. If he doesn’t manage to finish within the top four he is likely to be retired.